Lisa’s Table Is All About Safe Dinners

Meet Lisa

Lisa is a dedicated BAC Fighter who is passionate about keeping her community safe. She is an Extension Agent at Michigan State University, and she regularly uses Fight BAC resources in her curriculum.

Lisa values raising awareness around safe food handling practices. Throughout the semester she teaches courses that remind students how to stay healthy. She also shares The Story of Your Dinner resources — particularly around the holiday season. She has done this for many years and has noticed that her community responds positively to it.

Lisa’s Table Spreads Awareness for the Holidays

This past holiday season, Lisa dedicated a table to food safety in the atrium of the Midland County Building Department. She blew up food safety tips from The Story of Your Dinner and made them into laminated tiles. The tiles were arranged to be easily read by anyone who passes through the building. Lisa is thankful for the clear messages on each tile like “Suds up for 20 seconds” and “Keep your refrigerator at 40°F or below.”

Lisa went a step further and printed off recipes with food safety steps and left them on the table. She worked hard to emphasize the importance of food safety during the holiday season, and it was well received by her peers and community. She was pleasantly surprised to see over 50 recipes had been taken from the table by the diverse population that walks through the building.

Years of Community Engagement at the Table

This isn’t the first year Lisa has created a table display. A couple years ago, she increased community engagement by holding a drawing for those who stopped at the table. Over 75 people entered and the winner received a fridge thermometer to ensure their fridge was at a food-safe temperature. The county health department sanitarian workers who approved the display said that it was “wonderful”.

Lisa feels that with the number of those who have responded each year, she is getting her message across and doing her part in spreading awareness to her community. She appreciates that the resources from the Partnership for Food Safety Education are diverse and can be easily tweaked to be used throughout the entire year.

Handwashing for ordinary people in a time of novel coronavirus

By Shelley Feist, Executive Director, Partnership for Food Safety Education

Have you been hearing in the news, at school and at work that there are important things you need to do to stay healthy?

BTW, the coronavirus handwashing advice you’ve been hearing about has always been recommended for your healthy daily life!

That’s right, these handwashing basics should be a part of your daily life and your family and friends too!  Here’s the Handwashing How!

How should I wash my hands?

Check it out — there are 5 easy steps.

  1. Wet your hands with warm running water and apply soap.
  2. Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well. Be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  3. Continue rubbing hands for at least 20 seconds, about the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean cloth or paper towel.

This video from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives you all the basics.  Share this video with everyone you know.

So now you know how.

When should I wash my hands to protect myself and others from the risk of harmful germs?

Well, there are many times throughout the day, including:

  • Before eating food
  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After handling uncooked eggs or raw meat, poultry or seafood (or their juices)
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After touching an animal or animal waste
  • After touching garbage
  • After using the toilet or assisting another with doing so

Also, consider that your smartphone or tablet could be a source of contamination.  If you use your device in the kitchen while preparing food, you should wash your hands after holding or touching the device.

What should I use to wash my hands?

Research shows that “plain” soap is just as good as any other soap.  Using soap and water is the best option.

If running water is not available for handwashing, then use a hand sanitizer as a back-up. Your hand sanitizer product should be at least 60% alcohol content in order to be effective.

Finally, it is important to take time to help young children wash hands properly.

I know, I know. You’re thinking: I can’t keep up with all the times during the day my child should wash his or her hands.

Still, take time to model proper handwashing.  The research about the benefits of regular handwashing says it all. Modeling proper handwashing sets kids up for a healthy life!

Download a free poster or this Happy Hands song placemat to remind your kids of the 5 steps to proper handwashing!

Happy Handwashing!

Shelley Feist is the Executive Director with the Partnership for Food Safety Education. She can be reached at (202) 220-0651 or sfeist@fightbac.org. Connect: LinkedIn | Twitter

An Interview with BAC: How Much He Loves Super Bowl Parties

BAC® sat down with Shelley Feist, Executive Director of the Partnership for Food Safety Education, to talk about his idea of “Super Bowl fun”.

Q: BAC, lots of people are getting together over food to watch the Super Bowl. What do you love most about Super Bowl parties?
A: I love that there is so much chaos in the kitchen that
day — I love it! After all, if you are distracted and you have 10 friends each bringing a food dish to a party, that creates some real opportunities for me. I also love that the game lasts a long time — usually 3 ½ hours. That’s great too!

Q: What do you mean?
A: Well, first of all, if you have 10 friends bringing 10 dishes, do you think each one of them was careful in washing their hands with soap and water before preparing that food? No! Or that those platters of deli meats and veggies have been kept at 40 °F for the past few hours? No way! The more food, the more chaos… the better for me! These situations create a real opportunity for me.

Q: Opportunity?
A: Put it this way, if you are going to skip washing your hands before you handle food, I am going to be there. And I’ll be ready to jump off your hands to every food item you touch. I also love a nice, warm room temperature and plenty of time to sit around on your food. I take advantage of these opportunities. I show up and multiply!

Q: You don’t sound like a very good Super Bowl party guest. Why would anyone invite you?
A: What? I show up uninvited all the time! And it’s easy to do. You can’t believe how many people provide the perfect conditions for me to show up and to multiply! I had the greatest time at Thanksgiving when the Smith family didn’t use a food thermometer, and they only cooked their stuffing to 130 °F! That was great!

Q: Images on the web show you as green and kind of creepy. But sitting here with you, you don’t appear that way at all. Why don’t you tell the readers what you look like?
A: I’m illustrated as short, green and aggressive. In reality I’m invisible — you can’t even see me. But yeah, I’m aggressive. When I’m out at room temperature, you can be sure I’ll be aggressive and start showing up all over in your food. That’s what I’m all about. 

BAC® is aggressive, loves to multiply at room temperature, and is ready to show up uninvited to your Super Bowl party! To learn how to keep BAC® out of your football gathering plans, check out www.fightbac.org.

Have a winning Super Bowl party from your friends at the Partnership for Food Safety Education!

More resources
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
https://www.cdc.gov/features/superbowlplaybook/index.html

Five Food Safety Tips for Holiday Buffets

By Shawnte Loeri, Communications Associate, Partnership for Food Safety Education

The holiday season reigns in terms of total grocery sales in the United States.* This abundance of food going home with people indicates a busy December of food preparation and entertaining.

The Partnership for Food Safety Education offers five key ways to keep unwanted germs away from your holiday buffet:

Keep a Clean Scene

Before cooking and after handling raw ingredients such as meat, poultry, eggs and flour, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. It sounds simple but recent USDA research found that 97% of people are failing to wash their hands properly. Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food. Thisshort, animated videoshows how to “Keep a Clean Scene” at home when preparing meals.

Thaw foods safely

Thaw frozen ingredients in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. For safety, never thaw food at room temperature!

Keep hot foods hot

Place hot foods in chafing dishes, crock pots or warming trays at 140 °F or warmer. Bacteria can multiple rapidly between 40 °F and 140 °F. Use a food thermometer to monitor the temperature and ensure food is being held at 140 °F or higher on your buffet.

Keep cold foods cold

During your event, arrange and serve perishable foods on several small platters. Put one platter on the buffet table and store the other platters in the fridge. Swap them out every two hours. Nest platters in bowls of ice on the buffet table. 

Handle leftovers safely

Divide large portions of leftovers like beef, turkey, gravy, dressing, stews and casseroles into smaller portions in shallow containers. Refrigerate leftovers within two hours. A constant home refrigerator temp. of 40 °F or below is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Use an appliance thermometer to be sure your refrigerator temperature is at 40 °F or below. Eat leftovers within 3-4 days. 

To help you Fight BAC!® (harmful bacteria) this holiday season, we’ve created a  free flyer on food safety for parties and buffets and an infographic on frozen foods 

Follow the Partnership for Food Safety Education on Facebook at @FightBAC and on Twitter at @FightBAC. More food safety resources are available free at StoryofYourDinner.org. 

The Story of Your Dinner campaign is supported by Cargill, Costco Wholesale and the Frozen Food FoundationSee our video in English and Spanish at StoryofYourDinner.org. 

*November and December reign in terms of total grocery sales with $52.5 billion an $52.7 billion in sales respectively according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Shawnte Loeri is the Communications Associate with the Partnership for Food Safety Education. She can be reached at (202) 220-0705 or sloeri@fightbac.org.

The High Season of Cookie Dough Defiance

By Shelley Feist, Executive Director, Partnership for Food Safety Education

I have several friends who devote an entire December weekend to baking holiday cookies to give as gifts. (Lucky me, I am often a recipient). It is only this season that it occurs to me I should be checking in with them to see if they are “cookie dough defiant”.

I borrow the phrase “cookie dough defiant” from Sharon Davis of the Home Baking Association who presented on PFSE’s recent webinar about the safety of raw flour and shell eggs and home baking.

Sharon has put a phrase to something we see a lot — people who just do not want to accept that eating raw cookie dough can make themselves or their kids sick, and then making a defiant stand to continue to sample dough and batter despite the risk.

In reaction to a 2018 PFSE Facebook post, Susan said,” But the kids love it!” and “I’m not sure we will stop, but thanks for the warning.”

Cookie dough defiance has been promoted by celebrities, too. Ellen DeGeneres (@theellenshow) posted to Instagram, “Has anyone ever really gotten Salmonella from eating raw cookie dough or are they just trying to stop me from living my life?” with a cameo photo of Kermit the Frog.

Yes, Ellen. Someone has gotten Salmonellosis from eating raw cookie dough.

And, as our webinar highlights, E. coli: O157:H7 is a potentially even more dangerous pathogen that has been linked to raw flour.

We asked a live poll question on our webinar – and with more than 100 health and food safety educators responding, we found that even among knowledgeable health and food safety educators, 43% admitted to their cookie dough defiance.

We’ll be in touch again on this topic. For now, in this holiday season, consider how we can all model behavior — especially for kids — that a baked cookie is worth the wait and the season so much sweeter when we are healthy.

Related consumer messages:

  • Do not eat or play with any raw cookie dough or any other raw dough or batter product made with flour that is intended to be cooked or baked.
  • Follow package directions on baking mixes and other flour-containing products for proper cooking temperatures and for specified times.
  • Wash hands, work surfaces, and utensils thoroughly after contact with raw dough products containing flour.
  • Keep raw foods separate from other foods while preparing them to prevent any contamination that might be present from spreading.

Check out the recorded webinar here. CEUs are available for the recorded webinar.

Summary: Outbreaks inked to raw flour (source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration)

Other helpful links:

Shelley Feist is the Executive Director with the Partnership for Food Safety Education. She can be reached at (202) 220-0651 or sfeist@fightbac.org.